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88 Key Midi Controller with Piano-like keys

Discussion in 'GEAR Talk Forum' started by ranaprathap, May 16, 2017.

  1. lastmessiah

    lastmessiah Active Member

    Aug 20, 2017
    This is my first M-Audio product. I am pleased enough with it that I just recently ordered an audio interface from M-Audio. They seem to make nice functional products without any cheese added.

    The keys are plastic, mind you, but the action itself is quite nice. It isn't comparable to an acoustic piano, despite the marketing claims, but you can get good dynamics out of it. I'm glad I have this rather than, say, a Roland RD, as I prefer the superior software sample pianos and have no use for the built-in romplers. The Roland might have a nicer keybed but I'd rather spend that money elsewhere as I'm almost entirely ITB. Hope this helps.
    miket likes this.
  2. dcoscina

    dcoscina Senior Member

    Nov 16, 2004
  3. miket

    miket Senior Member

    May 17, 2016
    Thanks! I'm going to see if I can get my hands on one for a test run.

    For my case, I simply can't spend that much on a keyboard right now. Frustrating, but it's the way it is.
  4. John57

    John57 Senior Member

    Jun 20, 2016
    I tried the standard 88 keystation but the velocity curves between the white and black keys were all over the place and had to return it. One time I thought about getting the M-audio Code but the number of one star reviews on Amazon just put me off. I have no idea on how good the M-Audio Hammer 88 is. The Roland RD-2000 is nice but at five times the cost of my StudioLogic keyboard I am keeping it.
  5. Ricardinho

    Ricardinho Active Member

    Mar 10, 2010
    Hi EvilDragon, and how about the Rd 2000 v-piano engine compared to Pianoteq. I noticed you love Pianoteq sound. A big hug from Brasil
  6. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon KSP Wizard

    May 25, 2010
    Pianoteq is better to me simply because it offers a lot more models and is way more tweakable, but V-Piano is also pretty good.
    Ricardinho likes this.
  7. manuhz

    manuhz Active Member

    Jul 11, 2016
    I'm lucky to own a Roland RD-2000 unit and muss say it's an amazing piece of hardware. It has by far the most realistic and playable piano action I've tried, works flawlessly as my master keyboard and the V-Piano... well, it wasn't never the main reason of my purchase, but that engine sounds pretty damm good... to my hears better than Pianoteq.
    Nathanael Iversen likes this.
  8. Nathanael Iversen

    Nathanael Iversen Senior Member

    Mar 25, 2013
    I played the RD-2000 for the first time tonight. It was not well displayed at the GuitarCenter in San Francisco, and it was through a very low quality Roland amp - but plenty of YouTube videos exist to hear the raw sample quality. The action is excellent. It is better than a Korg Kronos RH3 action (which is quite usable, and which I enjoy playing). It is better than the Nord Stage 2 EX88, which was worse than the Kronos - I wouldn't buy the Nord for half the $4500 asking price.

    I was impressed with the instrument. The dynamic control is excellent, the sounds are great, the real-time controls for computer stuff, etc. It is well-thought out and worth the money. You can really tell that they thought through how a musician would use it. For an 88 note weighted controller, the only thing I've played that is close is the the Kawai MP11. That is one big, heavy keyboard, but the action is wonderful. I'd take the Roland piano sound, however. I have not been able to play the MP11 and the RD-2000 side-by-side. There was a used Kawai MP7 there, and while the action was good, it was a little shallow. The MP7 feels more realistic at key-bottom, but perhaps it is from being well-broken in.

    The RD-2000 has an exceptional action. The "escapement" (which I think may be code for "triple sensor") really works, and it feels about the same as grand piano to repeat notes, the lift to re-engage the key feels right. The only think that is in-authentic is the rubbery feel at the key bottom. An acoustic piano is not "soft" at the bottom. It is probably better for fingers that it isn't, but real pianos are firm at the bottom. That said, the actual key feel is excellent. It is lighter than my grand, but the RD-2000 has the resistance of a top notch instrument in fine regulation. It is easy to play very softly. The keys themselves feel good - they have a textured finish and are not slick and smooth like a Korg or a Yamaha. This definitely improves the playing feel.

    The in-built sounds are perfectly usable for live playing. I've got lots of samples to use for anything that I don't like, but the core sounds are all excellent.

    I think the RD-2000 is an excellent piano controller. I haven't played it side-by-side with the Yamaha CP-4 or the new Nord Piano3, but the controls on the RD-2000 fit my use case better. If it appeals, I don't think you'd be unhappy.

    BTW - the key bottom comment has to be understood in light of the fact that digital pianos use a contact strip under the keys to sense the keypress - this is why they feel that way. This is in no way unique to Rolands or the RD-2000. Once you start playing, you forget all about it. If you've been playing digital pianos or keyboards already, this isn't any big deal. It is just different than an acoustic. The action itself is very, very good. It is better than most acoustic pianos - especially uprights. The value for money is certainly there.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2017
  9. ratherbirds

    ratherbirds Active Member

    Jul 14, 2017
    Nancy, France
    Hi, What do you think about to use the new Yamaha MX88 keyboard like a master keyboard controler ? It can link directly to DAW and it had moduluation wheel and 4 assignables knobs and a GHS keybed .. under 1000 Euros
  10. T.j.

    T.j. Senior Member

    Feb 24, 2017
    I had one for a week and just send it back, I did not like it.
    If i was a pro player in some gospel/r&b/soul/hiphop setting I might have...

    Also I have no need for like 80% of it's functionality

    Keybed was fine, really quiet and responsive,
    but I hated, hated the sounds... Not 1 of the pianos felt inspiring in any way.
    95% of them were useless and all of them had either a nice top/weird bottom end or the opposite.
    Layering pianos to compensate for ones weakness resulted in a weird 'phasey' mess
    I tried the rd-2000 through several different headphones and speakers..

    Another thing that reaally bugged me was the volume differences between the presets,
    switching between them there were really big jumps hurting my ears and occasionally scaring me half to death.

    Anyway, this thing feels like it was made for players in the r&b circuit.. very compressed ('cardbox-y') piano sounds out of the box.
    I'm sure it sits well in pop-mixes but for classical playing i'd look elsewhere.
    Just my 2c..

    I'm also shit player so if you like the sounds grab one..
    Nothing wrong with the keybed. 100% sure someone with more skills could rip on it
    Comparing the keys in store with all other models i would actually rank it amongst the better, probably only bested by the kawai's but I understand not those are not everyone's cup of tea either..

    Edit: if you're gonna use it purely as a controller and work a lot in dark environments, be warned those leds are also quite bright (but obviously useful for on stage) I found it distracting at times
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
  11. AdamKmusic

    AdamKmusic Senior Member

    Dec 30, 2016
    I've ended up purchasing the Nektra LX88+, unfortunately my budget doesn't reach the levels of fully weighted keys just yet. Excited to try it out when it's delivered tomorrow though!
  12. ratherbirds

    ratherbirds Active Member

    Jul 14, 2017
    Nancy, France
    One of my main needs on keyboard choice is a quiet keybed. An it's a thing that it not often discussed or documented. So, is there someone who can rank the keybed below from noisiest to quietest ?
    - Roland RD2000 (PHA-50)
    - Roland RD800 (PHA-4 Concert)
    - Roland (Ivory Feel S)
    - Roland A88 (Ivory Feel G)
    - Studiologic SL88 Studio (Fatar TP/100LR)
    - NI S88 ((Fatar TP/100LR or like)
    - Studiologic SL88 Grand (Fatar TP/40WOOD)
    - Yamaha MX88 (GHS)
    - Yamaha CP4 (NW-GH)
    - Kawai MP11 (GF)
    - Kawai VPC-1R (M3II )
    - M-Audio Hammer 88 (?)
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
  13. madbulk

    madbulk Senior Member

    Seven pages and I don't know what to do. Probably just get my Motif ES8 detailed and try to get another 10 years out of it.
    tmhuud likes this.
  14. KV626

    KV626 Member

    All I can say is that my Arturia Keylab 88 is one the best pieces of equipment I've ever bought. Build quality is impeccable, it's quiet, it has all the features I need. Coupled with Pianoteq it's really a joy to play...
  15. T.j.

    T.j. Senior Member

    Feb 24, 2017
    Sorry, missed this one..
    I've been to half a dozen stores and still have gotten to try only half of these..
    It's difficult to say exactly but i'll try anyway:

    M-Audio Hammer 88
    Studiologic SL88 Studio (Fatar TP/100LR)
    Roland A88 (Ivory Feel G)

    Medium Noise:
    Roland RD800 (PHA-4 Concert)
    Yamaha CP4 (NW-GH)

    Kawai VPC-1R (M3II )
    > (Nobody stocked this one but I tried the ca17 which has the same keybed
    it was quite a bit louder than the gf2, which also felt a lot nicer btw)
    Roland RD2000 (PHA-50)
    Kawai MP11 (GF)
    > (not sure if this is gf or gf2. I tried both mp11 and ca67/79 and they were really, really quiet)

    Once you get in the good category it's more of a matter of 'what' kind of noise you're getting..
    I'd say the kawai's have a faint 'sub' thud going on, whereas the rd-2000 has more of a midrange thud,
    coupled with some squishy-ness (I assumed to be one of the felt strips used for damping, I guess this could go away over time)

    Overall I'd say none of the medium & up models were bad.
    There were other brands to chose from with some serious $$$-tags not mentioned here that were insanely noisy (not to mention clunky).
    I couldn't imagine ever working with one of these..

    Hope this helps
    ratherbirds likes this.
  16. Leon Portelance

    Leon Portelance Senior Member

    Jan 2, 2017
    Corning, California
    I still love my old Yamaha P-140. I also have a Necter 25+ for a MIDI controller and a Nanopad 2'
  17. ratherbirds

    ratherbirds Active Member

    Jul 14, 2017
    Nancy, France
    Ah, thank you very much. This is very useful.
    Unfortunately, if I understand correctly, there is no midi master keyboard, without onboard sound generator, with a quietly keybed. Except the Kawai VPC-1, but too oriented pure pianist, without knob, and expensive.
    it lacks a keyboard of simple design and that would make the joy of so many musicians:
    - NW-GH or GH Keybed
    - 2 wheels
    - 4 rotary knobs
    - 2 buttons
    Yamaha what are you doing, you're waiting Roland or NI ??
  18. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon KSP Wizard

    May 25, 2010
    There's no such thing as a quiet keybed. It's moving mechanics, it will always produce SOME sound. Ever heard how just the piano action sounds like when all strings are muted? It's totally not quiet :)

    So accept that as a fact of life.
  19. cola2410

    cola2410 Active Member

    Feb 5, 2017
    I've been looking for it quite a while and I may probably have another perspective. What if I can have just a not deep piano-like keyboard with really good keys, but no onboard sounds, only two wheels. And enriched with extra controllers like Korg Nanos or similar put on top (I've even seen them glued by double-side tape). What will be the keyboard to start with - Roland, Doepfer, Kawai, NI?

    Actually from overal cost perspective the simple keyboard+extra controllers combination represents quite a capable environment compared to other all-in-one offers.
  20. ratherbirds

    ratherbirds Active Member

    Jul 14, 2017
    Nancy, France
    Yes, that's absolutely true! :)
    But there are some noises that have nothing to do with beautiful mechanicals, like the resonance of a plastic lid, or the rebound of a synthetic key on a metal bar. It would sometimes suffice to add a strip of felt, properly placed, with memory shape so as not to disappear after 2-3 years ..
    There are limits not to be exceeded.
    Look at the following .. (at 4min04)



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